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How To: Balance Work and Family Life

By Sophie Pettit 28 November 2017
Learning how to juggle a full-time job while being a full-time parent can be a challenge to say the least, especially in Hong Kong, which is notorious for its hard working culture. So how do Hong Kongers do it? We decided to put this question to our readers to find out what practical tips they have for striking a good balance.

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1. Plan Your Meals

Get a plastic pocket folder and label the pages for the meals and days of the week. Two weeks is good. Keep a separate folder with all the favourite recipes (printed out or torn out) then at the start of the week slip the recipes into the pockets - and you're done. - Katie McGregor I go even further than Katie and have a meal prep afternoon. I would seriously not be able to function without this - my kids would not be fed! I realise that as someone who works, I also need to outsource the majority of small tasks that cost less than my time to get done, and we have a helper (love her). - Elle Kealy Try to have a family meal with everyone once a day. No phones allowed! - Eve Roth Lindsay Before coming to Hong Kong, when I was working with a pretty long commute built in and no helper, I did a 10 week meal plan. I had weekly shopping lists corresponding with these to print out before going shopping. All the recipes where organised in a binder. A bit obsessive, but I was so happy with this, I don't think we have ever eaten better and more varied. I was even thinking of writing a book at the time. - Erika McDonald

2. Have a Homework Table

Get all your kids to do their homework around the table with you so you are all working together at the same time. Also try to be efficient with the time you have on your own when they are at school to get as much done and then continue when they go to bed! - Christine Smith-Mann We have what we call 'homework table', so I get out my laptop and they get out their books. - Katie McGregor

3. Manage Your Time

Work your day around your kids. Work when they're at school or kindy, then allow for more flexibility when they're back home. Get the tasks that require more concentration done when they're away, then schedule the easier ones for when you may be interrupted - frequently! - Orla Breeze Schedule family time and kids activities at school (sports games etc) as if they are important business meetings on your calendar and treat them as such (as opposed to as an afterthought or something that can be cancelled for a 'more important' task). - Lori Granito We use Google Calendar so I can update all of the home activities in one place. It syncs to our phones so my husband would know when the little one has a play date or if we need to go to a school interview. Otherwise we can't keep track of each others' schedule. - Fiona Lee

Delegate everything you can so that when you're not working you are able to spend as much quality time with the family as possible. Let go of the control and accept that nothing is going to be perfect, but that the important stuff will still get done! - Fiona Callanan

4. Most Importantly ... Be Present

Make an effort to really be present when you are with your kids. Fifteen minutes of undivided attention in better than 30 minutes spent distracted by emails or thinking about all the stuff you need to do. They get bored of you after 15 minutes anyway! - Jannette Mak

Do you have anything to add? Leave your tips in the comments below.

Read more! Explore our How To section to find all the best advice, and check out these fun things to do with the family this Christmas.

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Sophie Pettit


Sophie is always on the lookout for a great story and her next big adventure and loves nothing more than discovering the city’s hidden gems—and most delicious cocktails. When she’s not exploring new places, she’s off travelling and ticking countries off her bucket list.